BAD BOATS by Laura Jensen


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In this first collection, Laura Jensen establishes herself as one of the likeliest young poets to come from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in recent years. However, she relinquishes the controlled elegance of tone and setting which tends to blur the distinction between those writers, moving instead through a nightmarish world in which the most mundane circumstances (a mule standing in a field in ""Talking to the Mule""; leaving a voting booth in ""After I Voted""; insomnia in ""Sleep in the Heat"") become insurmountable terrors. Not that the writing lacks polish; indeed, the reader is lured into Jensen's realm of confusion by the simplicity and directness of the most improbable (and at first glance, whimsical) statements, such as the opening lines of the title poem: ""They are like women because they sway./ They are like men because they swagger./ They are like lions because they are king here. . .""). The ""bad boats"" take on lives of their own, waiting for the opportunity to uproot their anchors and turn the harbor to chaos. Jensen leaves us with the feeling that at any moment the constraints which maintain a status quo can become the pressures which result in its demise--a disturbing and provocative departure from the obsessive tranquility found in much of today's poetry.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1977
Publisher: Ecco--dist. by Viking